“Why Me, Lord, what have I ever done to deserve even one, of these blessings from you.” (Kris Kristofferson) I find in Psalms 91:14 “Because she loves me, says the Lord, I will rescue her. I will protect her, for she acknowledges my name.” And Psalms 18:19 “The Lord rescued me because he delighted in me.” Oh, but I’m getting ahead of my story. So we’ll go back to the facts – As Sergeant Friday says: “Just the facts, ma’am, just the facts.”
On June 28, 2013, I went with Tom, Karen, and Carl for a family reunion at my cousin Sherol’s in Grandby, CO. We stopped at John’s in Colorado City that night. I walked the blocks nearby on Friday morning. Got extremely winded on a slight incline. Commented that the altitude was getting to me. We went on to Grandby and checked into a motel. Went to Sherol’s and joined the group to go out to eat. No problems.
On Friday morning I walked from our room to Carl’s room about six doors down from us. Had to sit down to rest on the way back; had a queer kind of pain in my back as I sat there. Again, I reported to Karen that the altitude was bothering me. At Sherol’s, I went in to take a nap. Got up a few minutes and told Sherol I was going back to sleep. I asked her not to tell anyone I was sleeping again; I didn’t want to be known as a party pooper. I got up, ate, and visited around some. I don’t know what time I sat down to talk to Shelly, but I talked only a few minutes when I had a vicious pain all through my chest and back.
I guess I cried out in pain. Carl said, “Mom, are you all right?” I heard Sherol calling 911 and giving directions to her house. EMT arrived. Precious, loving young people! The one who seemed to be the leader asked me if I wanted them to do everything they could to keep me alive – even CPR. I told him yes. I remember him giving me nitroglycerine; after a bit he gave me another one. I faintly remember being in a large room and a doctor telling me that he had sent for Life Flight and I was going to be sent to Denver. I remember objecting a bit. Then it was lights out for me. Karen said I asked if I had to go; the doctor responded “Yes, Ms Schoolteacher, Ma’am. Y-E-S.” I said, “What if I don’t?” He muttered mostly under his breath, “Then it’s Kerput.”
Karen told me that almost everyone in my family hit the floor in prayer almost as soon as I cried out. She especially mentioned Mary Ann and Vonnell. For that I believe I lived the intervening hours to the Denver operating room. I don’t know who notified Facebook and my church friends, but I do know there were many praying for me for the next several days.
I am so thankful. I am amazed at the number of people who cared. I have a new appreciation for EMT, doctors, Flight team for their decisions to do everything in their power to keep life in me. I’m afraid I had bought into young people not appreciating their elders!
So I arrived in the operating room. This is hear-say according to what the doctor told my sisters. The doctor said they did not have time to do tests beforehand so they went in “blind” to make repairs. The operation lasted 14 hours but the doctor said they got finished sooner than he had expected and he was confident that my heart was repaired and would be no more problem. But the danger of infection was great. And there was need for close watch on me to avoid pneumonia.
Apparently there was damage caused to the lungs, somehow causing much water in my body; I don’t know what I’m talking about in all this, but I have a “catalog” of hospital records to show something like that. Dr. Dimitri Kaufman (lung doctor) has written “Pulmonary edema, due to acute aortic dissection.” Dr. Walker, the heart surgeon, did say it was a near impossibility that I made it to the hospital alive and twice that that I got out of the operation alive. His diagnosis was “Type 1 aortic valvular dissection, severe aortic valvular insufficiency, and acute heart failure.”
My next move into reality was hearing someone ask me if I knew where I was. I responded correctly. Then she asked who the president was; again I responded correctly. Then she asked if I knew the season. I tried so hard to be right but I wasn’t; I said, “I think it’s winter.” She said, “No, don’t you remember – summer, Fourth of July is coming up.” I asked the day; she said it was Tuesday. I guess I flunked the test, because they must have sedated me again. Next thing I am being asked the same simple questions. I laughed at the easy questions. She said, “Well, we need to know what you know.” I said, “I know everything. Well, not everything – but everything I knew before.” I guess they liked that answer because it was “get you well and moving” time!
I made great progress; however, I was in ICU 13 days. I was placed with my doors open to the nurses’ station. Some of my nurses had been present during the operation. They were lovely about that. One told me that they had called for Dr. Walker as soon as Life Flight went out. She spoke of how fortunate I was that he was available. On my walks around the hall, many would comment about my progress. I could tell I was a “plum” to those folks. They knew a lot that I did not know! I think they were proud of keeping me alive. Anyway, after 13 days there I went to another floor to ICU Step-down. Main difference, my room was in a corner down the hall (a sure sign of getting well), and there I could take a bath.
I was discharged from there on Monday, July 15, and got home the next day. I came home with an oxygen tank, but didn’t have to keep it long. The doctors in Denver expected my doctors here to put me in Rehab but they (primary and cardiac) gave me hardly the time of day except to say it looked like I was lucky to be alive. I didn’t even rate a real check with the cardiac doctor; I saw his PA who made an appointment for October 23. Hopefully that shows how well I’m doing not how poorly the doctors are doing.
I didn’t even pick up a Bible in Denver, but when I got home I tried to re-establish a Bible reading routine, but for nearly two weeks I couldn’t get past Ps 91 “he rescued me because I love him, He protected me because I know his name.” I’m glad. I do love him and know his name – Jehovah-rophe, God my healer. But I still don’t know Why Me, Lord, and not others who love him and whom he loves.
So I’m back where I started, Why Me, Lord, what have I ever done, to deserve this blessing from you?
It took me a long time, about two years, before I blogged the post above. I wrote it, journal type thing, but I could not make it public. It took even longer to write about the things I saw, heard, felt while I was on that operating table. How near death was I? I will do my best to tell you tomorrow, by re-posting a blog called, “I’m Glad I Did Not Die.”